Kirsten Lodal (2015)

Read the New Frontier Award® announcement


Kirsten Lodal co-founded LIFT, an innovative anti-poverty nonprofit, during her sophomore year at Yale University. While volunteering in Head Start programs focused on at-risk children, Lodal was struck by the lack of comprehensive support services available to the parents of the children she served. She and co-founder Brian Kreiter established LIFT, then called National Student Partnerships, as a one-stop resource center for low-income adults who were struggling to support themselves and their families. Lodal has served as CEO since its founding.

LIFT strives to address the complicated, often disparate causes of poverty by pairing highly trained volunteers with low-income individuals and families. LIFT volunteers, who represent a cross-section of the community from graduate students to retirees, provide ongoing one-on-one support to help those in need gain access to crucial resources such as food and housing assistance, job training, educational opportunities, health care, and more. Equally, volunteers serve as mentors and advocates in helping those they serve to develop life skills and professional networks to break the cycle of poverty. Lodal is now focusing on incorporating the latest science related to brain development into LIFT’s work, to interrupt the inter-generational transmission of poverty by helping low-income and poor parents mitigate toxic stress and early adversity for their children. Kirsten Lodal has built LIFT into a national model for poverty alleviation. Thousands of LIFT volunteers have provided critical support and advocacy to more than 100,000 individuals and families seeking better lives. LIFT now operates resource centers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Lodal is the mother of two young girls and is expecting her third child in March 2016.